Reporters Sans Frontières - Wikileaks hounded?

by Volker Weber

This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.

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Funny to call it censorship when somebody stole confidential and secret information from you and you are trying everyhing you can that it stays unpublished.
How would they feel if there was a general information saving plan (like there is/was in Germany/Europe) and their information like email headers and connection data got leaked and published?
When politicians say "you should not be worried if you've got nothing to hide" it is critized now they say basically the same. Just because it's Government business does not mean it has to be public. In a Democracy it just means that there need to be elected people representing you that have the access and the control. The more people have access the more open and transparent your government is. Apparently the USA were to open, giving to many people access. That's the message of Wikileaks publishing those information.
I want my personal life private in a way I decide and I have a lot of business stuff that's confidential. I understand why there needs to be confidentiality and even secrecy in Government and Diplomacy. Wikileaks does not make the world a safer or in any way better place - on the contrary ... to attack diplomacy means to attack (world) peace.

Martin Hiegl, 2010-12-05 22:35

to me that is debatable. I suppose there must be rules for journalism to be able to uncover e.g. acts of corruption under the hood of confidentiality. After publication they may have to take responsibility in front of a court. And that is the point, websites are closed by trial, maybe by an injunction, not by screaming politicians or government botnets.

btw, to give thousands of people access to information deemed confidential is indeed a fairly dumb thing to do and all that ado surely also happens to distract from that glaring stupidity.

Frank Quednau, 2010-12-05 23:28

Frank, if you got knwoledge and proof of corruption you should take it to the public prosecutor - even if you are a journalist and publish it at the same time. However then you are targeting something specific with specific and selected information and documentation. In the case at hand that could mean to analyse all the information by yourself and to just publish your story e.g. that diplomats are asked to spy at the same time. However Assange doesn't care about specific topics, Assange just wants to attack and isolate his personal nemesis USA (as said by himself) - it's not that difficult to argue an act of terrorism there.

Martin Hiegl, 2010-12-05 23:42

C'mon, give me a break.... you call publishing information as an act of terrorism? Luckily not everybody has your opinion..

Times are changing, www just speeded up this development. Information is the essence of the future and is has has to be free and to all our luck it is not controlled anymore by some *opinion leaders*.

Die Macht verschiebt sich von denen, die Geheimnisse haben, zu denen, die Öffentlichkeit herstellen - Jeff Jarvis

Michael Reichert, 2010-12-05 23:51

Freedom is about knowing what your government is up to.— Tom Blanton

Volker Weber, 2010-12-06 00:24

@Martin "it is up to the courts" is not the same as "you cannot take it down"; it is a reminder that in democratic societies, politicians do not have direct rule over such matters.

Jan Tietze, 2010-12-06 05:42

Why is the Wikileaks website not reachable anymore (or rather: again), I am not following that topic... I tried to get an A record over the weekend several times for the website and failed miserably. So after Amazon's AWS and Paypal saying goodbye (all covered by their Terms and what not etc I bet), what is up with the domain itself? Well, the website will come back I bet, just where - I thought there was a quick(er) shift after Amazon pulled the plug.

For what it is worth, Michael, Martin made the statement that with what he is doing (just to harm the US) and how (publish all, even when it endangers people worth protecting - if he cared) can be argued easily to be terrorism. what/how/*can*/ - what you put into his mouth is and was not there, in my reading, which is not to say he is or is not right.

Do you really think that Amazon and Paypal did not know before any goverment official made waves, and started to discuss that topic internally already? Heck, if I were a small ISP I would not want to have them as customers even close to me or near me, I would hopefully have something in my AUP or T&Cs to get rid of him before I could say 'no, thank you sir'.

For me publishing is OK for corruption cases or when goverments fuck up, but names/ discussions of people that would be worth protecting if Mr Wikileaks would be an actual journalist and not just an anti- american guy with influence and a fierce vengeance. For me that is where this goes south, so to say.

Alexander Koch, 2010-12-06 09:15

For the record, I checked the whois, and know what their provider did (read the URL). My point was more where it will show up for real (domain, registrar, hoster)... and for how long.

Alexander Koch, 2010-12-06 09:25

I'm all for transparency when crimes are being committed.

But airing diplomatic gossip that is going to push people closer to war/create ill-will, nothing more than ego tripping..

Julian Assange is holding the noble cause of transparency and accountability hostage to this ego driven hacking rampage, and he himself no longer in control. A true anarchist actually.

In some cases would it be treason ? He is just a disillusioned adult that never dealt with his "issues" from his adolescence.

Giulio Campobassi, 2010-12-06 10:16

Assange is not an american citizen (there seems to be a misunderstanding in a number of US guys about this fact), so cannot commit any treason by definition to the US of A. If he did it to his home country, which is Australia if I am correctly informed, it was a different story.

He is going into the highest risk somebody can actually take in order to inform the general public about facts which are making known the hard facts about politician's hypocrisy. This is not directed at the US either, they just happened to be careless about the collection of data, so it hit them the worst.

In what way does the publishing make things more dangerous for anybody than himself is beyond me, as everybody knows about the other parties anyway. As an arabic politician put it in in one of the snippets published: We lie to them and they lie to us.

So what's new.

Armin Roth, 2010-12-06 16:30

Prosecute Private Manning (or whoever leaked the documents): Ok.

Take down Wikileaks and hunt its staff: Not ok.

It would have been so much better if the US government had kept its cool, shrugged and just said: Yes, that's diplomacy. Don't you guys gossip about your aunts and uncles after the yearly family reunion?

Or in other's words: "Wenn das State Department cool wär, würde es die Memos mit dem CIA WorldFactBook mashen."

Hanno Zulla, 2010-12-06 16:38

If Assange were chinese, would he get the peace nobel prize?

Armin Roth, 2010-12-06 19:18

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Ceci n'est pas un blog is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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